A Rexburg judge has been named to the state Supreme Court.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced Friday he was appointing Seventh District Judge Greg Moeller to the Supreme Court seat that is vacant due to Joel Horton’s retirement.

Otter also named Garden City attorney Amanda Brailsford to the state Court of Appeals, filling a vacancy created by Sergio Gutierrez’s retirement. The other finalists for the Supreme Court seat were Brailsford and Boise lawyers Rebecca Rainey and Mary York.

This was Moeller’s third time seeking a Supreme Court seat. He was also a finalist for vacancies in 2017 and earlier this year.

“It’s good to have the journey behind me,” Moeller said Friday. “There have been a lot of twists and turns, but I sure appreciate all the support and encouragement people gave me in the community to … keep trying.”

Moeller, who graduated from Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, has been on the bench since 2009. Before that, he was a partner in the Rexburg law firm Rigby, Thatcher, Andrus, Rigby and Kam. He was in private practice for 19 years.

Moeller has presided over more than 50 trials in seven counties as a judge. He also presides over the Upper Valley Mental Health Court and serves on five Idaho Supreme Court committees, including the one for training new judges.

“Judge Moeller brings a diverse breadth of judicial experience to the Supreme Court bench,” Otter said in a statement. “He understands the complex vagaries and nuances of Idaho water law and is equally well-versed in the day-to-day challenges of jurisprudence. I believe Judge Moeller will be an outstanding addition to Idaho’s highest court.”

Moeller, who grew up in eastern Idaho and graduated from South Fremont High School in St. Anthony, said he has enjoyed his time as a judge here.

“The main reasons for seeking the appointment on the Supreme Court were … first, because I’ve had ingrained in me, ever since I was young, the importance of public service,” Moeller said. “This job will give me an opportunity to make a bigger difference to a larger group of people. And the second reason is, it has been so long, almost 30 years, since eastern Idaho had a voice on the Supreme Court that it was just time that we remedied that. Now that I’m on the court, obviously I’m going to be representing all of the state and not just eastern Idaho, but my view of things will obviously be greatly informed by the experience I’ve had here where I was raised and where I made a career and raised a family.”

Moeller said he expects to be sworn in to the Supreme Court in early January.

Larry Boyle, who went to high school in Pocatello and practiced law in Idaho Falls earlier in his career, was the last state Supreme Court judge from this part of the state. A former Seventh District judge like Moeller, he was appointed in 1989 and was on the court until he became a federal judge in 1992.

Moeller will serve out the rest of Horton’s term and will have to run for election in 2020 if he wishes to keep the seat longer. He said he plans to run.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.

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